In the latest installment of the AEC Game Changers, Mark Petrucci and John Ade of Applied Software led the charge in a discussion about revitalizing buildings.
“So, to start off with, why do we revitalize and renew existing buildings?” John asked. “That’s generally to repurpose, renew, update, enhance, and improve to prolong useful life or give new life to a building.” He went on to explain that in their career, most architects have the opportunity to work on the renovation of a building. “I’ve had an opportunity to do some interesting projects and also done a lot of commercial interiors, which is a lot of renovation work too,” he said. “It can be an integral part of the revival of an economically challenged city, town or neighborhood. It is also an opportunity to refresh its outward appearance, while at the same time, incorporating new materials design and advancement.”
Mark and John described several successful revitalization projects such as the Western Peachtree Plaza Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, which was revitalized after a tornado; the Tung Fat Building in Hong Kong, which was a run-down building built in the 1960s; the Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building in Portland, Oregon, which first opened in 1975.
The Western Peachtree Plaza Hotel now has 6,350 new windows—an entirely new skin—and its new windows are made of glass that is insulated, stronger and more energy efficient. “Replacing [the glass] did a couple things that gave them an opportunity,” said Mark. “They did have to replace everything in that building and at the same time help with its energy efficiency.”
Of the revitalization of the Tung Fat Building, Mark said, “It has an effect not only on the building itself as far as the efficiency, but the people in the building can enjoy the space and also the surrounding area… It’s made a huge difference to the entire neighborhood.”
The Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Building now has a rainwater reclamation system, elevators that capture kinetic energy and a 13,000 square foot rooftop canopy with photovoltaic panels. “They’ve reduced the building power consumption by 55%, which is pretty dramatic from what it was before,” said Mark. “I think it’s a really nice example of changing the look and updating its ability to provide a better working environment and be more sustainable.”
Mark and John also talked about the technologies that are employed in the process of building revitalization, including 3D scanners, drones, total stations, computers, and data storage. “For customers who want to do this themselves,” Mark said, “there are things to consider. It’s an investment of the hardware, the computers, and it’s really easy to underestimate the power of the computer and the amount of storage that you would need… You want to take advantage of what would automate the conversion from point cloud or automate tracing the point cloud and generating actual model data.”
Revitalizing existing buildings might be one solution to the pressure the construction industry is under to develop more buildings in less time with tighter budgets. And that’s a game changer.
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